Feeds

Atlantis bows out with Kennedy touchdown

Shuttle ends career with successful ISS mission

Application security programs and practises

Space shuttle Atlantis wrapped its 32nd and final mission today when it touched down at Kennedy Space Center at 12:48 GMT.

Atlantis landing today. Pic: NASA TVThe venerable vehicle's final day in space began to the wake-up call of Muse's Supermassive Black Hole, played in honour of commander Ken Ham, who led the successful STS-132 mission to the ISS.

The 12-day trip saw spacewalkers swap out six nickel-hydrogen battery units on the International Space Station's port truss.

A total of three EVAs also included the installation of a new space-to-ground Ku-band antenna and the attachment of a spare parts platform to the robotic Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator.

Space shuttle Atlantis. Pic: NASAConstruction on Atlantis began in March 1980. It rolled out of the Palmdale, California, assembly plant in March 1985, and was delivered to Kennedy Space Center the following month.

The shuttle's first flight was on 3 October 1985, when it carried a classified Department of Defense payload.

The vehicle - "named after the two-masted boat that served as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts from 1930 to 1966" - subsequently did four further Department of Defense flights, as well as carrying aloft planetary probes Magellan and Galileo and the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

Atlantis undocks from Mir at the end of its first visit. Pic: NASAOn 27 June, 1995, it headed off on the first Shuttle-Mir mating (pictured), and in 1996 returned to Russia's orbiting outpost to return astronaut Shannon Lucid back to Earth after her record 188 days in orbit.

Atlantis was then tasked with ISS assembly and supply duties, along with the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission in May 2009.

There are now two remaining scheduled launches before the rest of the fleet retires: Discovery's STS-133, set to blast off on 16 September; and Endeavour's STS-134, slated for launch "no earlier than mid-November".

It's remotely possible that Atlantis could launch again on an "STS-135" mission, should the STS-134 crew require rescue, but it does seem its long career is now at an end. NASA's full shuttle mission archive is here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.